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Publisher's Summary

"[S]pace opera that plays out on a grand scale, and Young conduct[s] it with aplomb."--Pop Cults, the website of Geek and Alternative Culture 

For over seven hundred years, theSpartan Republic's citizens have known one truth: Terra is coming. Descendants of exiles who dared to defy an emperor,the star nation's 70 billion citizens spent the centuries training, arming...and waiting

In 3035, Lt. Ian Campbell, Spartan Defense Forces (SDF), discovers a strange anomaly on his corvette's sensors...and realizes the wait is over. The Spartans must convince the Terrans of the cost of subduing their nation. If they succeed, the Republic survives. If not, the SDF will be forced to paint the stars red with their enemies' blood.

The Confederation of Man was born in the terror of the Harran Empire's death throes. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, humanity now spreads from its cradle on Earth to hundreds of stars across the Milky Way, and seeks out new worlds to add. 

Captain Marcy Cochran was hoping to find a habitable planet; she didn't expect thesystem to already have hostile humans. Now a captive, Cochran mustcontend with a crew proving to be as dangerous as their enemies, and preventwhat has started out as a misunderstanding from becoming a full-fledgedinterstellar war.  For Terran law isquite clear:  All humanity will answer to the Confederation.  For the Spartans, that makes the governmenton Earth no different than the empire it supplanted...and they would rather dieon their feet than subjugate themselves once more.

Aries' Red Sky is the newest novel in James Young's Vergassy Chronicles universe. A prequel to An Unproven Concept, it is the first in the Spartan Trilogy. If you like space opera with compelling characters, military sci-fi with high body counts, and capital ship battles on a galactic scale, pick up the the latest work in a series whose previous entry was recommended Amazing Stories, Pop Cults, and The MidwestBook Review.

©2018 James Young (P)2018 James Young

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great potential, lots and lots of characters

This tale has a lot to offer: space battles, heroes on both sides of the conflict, multiple cultures represented, gender equality in the military, and a deep misunderstanding that could decimate humanity. However, I was often lost. There are so many characters and the two sides of the conflict are comparable in many ways, making it hard to keep them straight. I had a real hard time keeping track of who was on which side.

The Spartans are a long lost exiled colony of humans that hold a grudge like no one else. They believe the Terrans are in the wrong & must be beaten at all costs. The Terrans don’t call themselves that, having long since left the cradle of Earth to populate other planets. They consider themselves the Confederation. So that added to the confusion. Towards the end, I started making a list of characters and here’s my best guess as to which side they are on:

Spartans with their PainBringers
Cpt. Aginor Akiros (spelling?)
Abigail Schweizter
Morovia (tortured)
Admiral Brown
President Nathan
War Minister Arnaud Dew
Vice president Geramund Dew (brothers)
Cpt. Win
Lt Cl. Peterman
Admiral Lee
Cpt. Donahue
Ian & Eubony
Corvetan Song
Chaplan Graves

Terrans/Confederation with their WarHammers
Jacqueline aka Katnip
Commander Avery
Commander Johanson (Torturer)
Yamashita (Torturer)
Ensign Michael Rogers (Surviving CO)
McPhereson (red head, captured, sent back to Confederation with messages)
Lt. Applewhite (woman)
MacKenzie Bolan (man)
Debra the empath
Admiral Enjemy (spelling?)
Jacob Holowack
Oderkirk (Katnip’s boyfriend)
June (Katnip’s friend)
Admiral Rauscher
Admiral Horace
Marcy Cochran, sister is April
Tyr

There’s a lot more characters not captured on this list but perhaps it will help audiobook listeners down the road. I searched the author’s website for a character list to help keep everyone straight, but, alas, I didn’t find anything.

OK, so besides the characters there’s plenty of other proper names floating around. Planet names, ship names, military unit names, nicknames, etc. That added to the confusion. One of the ships is named Taken Umbrage and it took me a while to figure this out because it’s such an odd phrase.

So let’s chat about all the good stuff. I love that there’s ladies everywhere in this space opera and that they get stuff done. Some are smart, some are not. Some are good guys, some are bad guys. It’s a great mix and the guys hold their end up too. I did keep thinking of Katniss from Hunger Games every time Katnip came on the scene (Katniss’s nickname was also Katnip). They have very different attitudes, but by the end of the book I had settled into this new Katnip.

Several different cultures are represented too. I love that it’s not an issue; the general mixing of ethnicities and cultures is totally normal for both the Spartans and the Terrans. Both sides have comparable tech, though the language tech on the Spartan side is a little better. The Terrans have to find a Yiddish speaker to break that first language barrier. I’m not sure why the Terran computers had such a hard time with Yiddish, given that it has some strong similarities to German, but I appreciated that the Spartans have kept the ancient Earth languages alive.

All together, the series holds promise. This book ended on a high note with plenty of room for the main conflict to continue in Book 2. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Jennifer Jill Araya gave a pretty good performance. The story opens with everyone in a good mood on both sides (before they bump into each other) and it did sound like laughing gas was being piped into the bridge with everyone being on the brink of a chuckle. For the most part, the characters had distinct voices though the male Spartans sometimes blended together. For instance, Akiros, Ian, and President Nathan all sounded the same to me. The male voices did sound like men. Katnip sounded like a cheeky 12 year old, which was sometimes funny but sometimes didn’t work at all. I loved Araya’s voice for Morovia – all steel and venom. Perfect! Araya’s pacing was good and there were no technical issues with recording. I especially liked how Araya included the Spartan war chant and the Terran Oscar Otter mascot song. 4/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by James Young. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

#Gritty #FirstContact #Colonial

#tagsgiving and #sweepstakes

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Book Worthy Enough to be a Space Opera!

I have to say this a long audiobook, and at first you must concentrate to make sure you don’t get names and ships in a muddle. The human world as we know is now Known as The Confederation as we have planets in many systems.
We also have the Spartan Empire who left earth 700 years before to escape a dictatorship called the Harran Empire, as they wanted to have religious freedoms. All this time they have been preparing for a war with the Terran Empire.
In this wonderful space opera there is  good and the bad on both sides. How normal people act and terrible war crimes committed by both sides. This is a long Audiobook, but you begin to know the characters involved, and you begin to root for them.
The narration is superb when you consider all the different voices. When I was listening, I was on the deck of a spaceship listening to what was going on. I was lucky as I was on many ships and planets. When I’m really in the action I don’t like to be pulled out of the action. That is the mark of great narrator, and this narrator really sent me on a wondrous journey

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by James Young. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Book Addict
  • 10-25-18

A Worthy Space Opera!

I have to say this a long audiobook, and at first you must concentrate to make sure you don’t get names and ships in a muddle. The human world as we know is now Known as The Confederation as we have planets in many systems.
We also have the Spartan Empire who left earth 700 years before to escape a dictatorship called the Harran Empire, as they wanted to have religious freedoms. All this time they have been preparing for a war with the Terran Empire.
In this wonderful space opera there is  good and the bad on both sides. How normal people act and terrible war crimes committed by both sides. This is a long Audiobook, but you begin to know the characters involved, and you begin to root for them.
The narration is superb when you consider all the different voices. When I was listening, I was on the deck of a spaceship listening to what was going on. I was lucky as I was on many ships and planets. When I’m really in the action I don’t like to be pulled out of the action. That is the mark of great narrator, and this narrator really sent me on a wondrous journey